Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sentencing In Black And White

A white teacher able to hire one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Florida gets house arrest for leaving the scene of an accident that killed two black kids.

Or:

A young 29 year old girl who panicked after a hit and run accident that killed 2 kids and then came forward and confessed to leaving the scene, receives house arrest.

Pick a headline. Read the story in the Tampa Tribune, or cnn.com

Former dance teacher Jennifer Porter, 29, of Tampa, was sentenced yesterday to 2 years of house arrest, 3 years of probation and 500 hours of community service, for leaving the scene of the accident that left 2 kids dead. She's white, the 2 kids were black.

Racial?

Perception.

Jennifer Porter was not charged with killing these children. She had no prior criminal record, for that matter, either did those kids.

So what am I saying?

First let me say that I think leaving the scene of an accident is a terrible crime. I understand why people panic and leave, but know that Porter also did not come forward immediately, and initially lied about the accident.

But.

Jennifer Porter was offered 3 years in prison by the prosecutor. She took her chances and pled guilty without an agreement, leaving it up to the judge.

He took 12 hours of testimony, until 1:30 in the morning, and felt that jail was not appropriate for whom he saw as a remorseful defendant. Trust me that this will be another instance for politicians to attack the judiciary for, well, making a decision that they don't agree with. Some idiot will argue that this judge has "run amock."

Most wanted Porter to go to jail, because most cannot fathom that any other kind of criminal sentence exists. You think Porter will do this again, you think she doesn't think about those kids every day?

What's sitting in a jail cell going to do, besides make you feel better?